Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Anatasia Pavlyuchenkova and Victoria Azarenka are some of the biggest names in tennis who have been caught in the midst of controversy for factors outside their own control.
All Russian and Belarusian players will be denied entry into the prestigious Wimbledon Championships in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement released to the public, the tournament organizers confirmed that the event will bar all players from Russia and Belarus on the basis that inviting them to SW19 will give indirect "benefit" to the Russian regime in the form of publicity.
"In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships," the statement read. "It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022."
The All England Club went on to profess solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine during these troubled times. Furthermore, it was made clear that the UK government's previous statements regarding measures to curtail Russian global influence in all areas through stringent measures were a driving factor in the decision.
"On behalf of the All England Club and the Committee of Management of The Championships, we wish to express our ongoing support for all those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine during these shocking and distressing times," the statement read.
"We have also taken into account guidance set out by the UK Government specifically in relation to sporting bodies and events. Given the profile of The Championships in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible," it went on.
Ian Hewitt, the club's chairman, admitted that the players in question, like Daniil Medvedev, should not have to suffer for what their respective leaders have done. For the record, Daniil Medvedev has been remarkably outspoken in his condemnation of Vladmir Putin, much like Rublev, Khachanov, Pavlyuchenkova and every tennis player from the two countries.
At the same time, however, Hewitt maintained that Wimbledon has no option but to deny Daniil Medvedev and the rest their participation at the event.
"We recognize that this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime," Hewitt said in the statement. "We have very carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken, but given the high-profile environment of The Championships, we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis at The Championships.”
It should be noted that the decision can be reversed if circumstances change "materially between now and June." But it remains unlikely that Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and the others will be able to play at SW19 based on how things appear at the moment.
Daniil Medvedev and the rest of the Russian and Belarusian tennis players have to sit out the entire trip to UK, not just Wimbledon
It is not just Wimbledon that is banning Russian and Belarusians like Victoria Azarenka and Daniil Medvedev, but the UK's Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) as well.
In a statement, the LTA announced that the organization has decided to ban them for the same reasons as the All England Club.
"The LTA is today united with the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) in announcing a ban on all Russian and Belarusian players at its events, the statement read. "After careful consideration, the LTA believes that tennis must join many other areas of sport and public life in sending a clear signal to the Russian and Belarusian states that their actions in Ukraine are the subject of international condemnation."
Similar to the ruling by Wimbledon, the LTA's decision can also be reversed under exceptional circumstances. Until then, however, all junior and pro-level tennis tournaments in Great Britain will not see players from Russia and Belarus participate.
Interestingly, the LTA added that non-playing participants - such as officials and support staff for other players - who are from the aforementioned countries will be dealt with according to government guidelines.
"The decision will impact pro-level adult and junior events in Great Britain and will last whilst the current situation continues in accordance with the UK Government guidance in place. The approach will be reviewed regularly and any future changes would be based on discussion with the UK Government," the statement read. "Russian and Belarusian nationals who are not playing in events but who are involved in other official capacities (such as officials or player support), will be subject to the Government guidance requirements."